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Boy who survived Taconic crash told of kin's deaths

Diane Schuler, 36, second from left, and her

Diane Schuler, 36, second from left, and her daughter Erin, 2, (held by her father, Daniel Schuler) died in a crash on the Taconic State Parkway on Sunday, July 26, 2009 that killed eight people. The Schulers' son, Bryan, 5, was the only survivor of the fatal crash that police said was caused by a drunk and high Diane Schuler. Credit: Handout

The West Babylon boy who survived the deadly Taconic State Parkway crash that killed his mother, baby sister and three cousins has been told of their deaths, a private investigator said Sunday.

The investigator, Thomas Ruskin, of Manhattan-based CMP Protective and Investigative Services, also said that the family of the 5-year-old boy, Bryan Schuler, and his cousins' parents are in contact, despite published reports that they weren't speaking.

-Click here to see the latest photos of the Taconic tragedy

Ruskin said the reports that wrong-way driver Diane Schuler's brother, Warren Hance, wants no more contact with widower Daniel Schuler were untrue. "The Schulers and the Hance family have been in touch on almost a daily basis," he said.

Bryan is recovering from head injuries at St. Mary's Hospital for Children in Bayside, Queens.

The boy was the only survivor of the July 26 collision between the minivan driven by his mother and a Chevrolet Trailblazer carrying three Yonkers men. Authorities say Schuler's blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit and she had marijuana in her system when she drove the wrong way down the Taconic in Westchester.

The fiery collision killed Schuler, 36, her daughter, Erin, 2, her three nieces - Emma Hance, 8, Alyson Hance, 7, and Kate Hance, 5 - and the Yonkers men.

Despite the toxicology findings, Daniel Schuler has publicly insisted she was not an alcoholic and says some undiagnosed medical condition must have been factor. New York State Police and Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore will meet Tuesday to discuss the ongoing probe.

Authorities have not yet interviewed Bryan, Ruskin said. "It's too early to rely on anything Bryan might or might not remember," said Ruskin, who is investigating the case for Garden City attorney Dominic Barbara, the lawyer for Daniel Schuler.

-Click here to see the latest photos of the Taconic tragedy

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